crime

Softbank iPhone trade-in system in violation of trade law, police say

27 Comments

Cell phone giant Softbank Mobile Corp has been ordered by police to change its system for accepting older iPhone handsets in part-exchange deals for the new iPhone 5, which went on sale last Friday. Police say the company was in breach of an old law regarding the sale of second-hand goods, TV Asahi reported.

According to the National Police Agency, the mobile phone carrier did not have permission from the National Public Safety Commission to trade used items. The group company Softbank Telecom Corp, which reportedly does have permission to do so, has taken over the role of providing the trade-in service.

Softbank Mobile had been offering customers 2,000 yen to 20,000 yen to trade in older iPhone handsets, TV Asahi said.

However, since the warning, trade-ins will no longer be carried out at Softbank Mobile branches. Instead, customers taking advantage of the part-exchange system are now offered parcels with which to mail their old handsets to Softbank Telecom. Softbank trade-ins are legally allowed to continue on that basis, the National Police Agency said.

© Japan Today

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27 Comments
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What is the purpose of this law? Softbank isn't re-selling the old phones, and then taking the old phones and dumping them in Tokyo Bay. It is simply allowing people to take a phone they'll never use ever again, as a partial payment for a brand new phone. In the United States, this type of practice is not only legal, but it is encouraged. It's the green thing to do! The old phones are then used in several ways: for example, some companies send used phones to countries like the Philippines - a country that is known for using these phones either as refurbished units, or as parts to fix existing phones. It sounds to me like an anti-Apple bureaucrat dug through the old law books and came up with this in order to slow down operations.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Seems like a win-win for Softbank and consumers. The j-cops are useless, as usual.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The law is the law but the police have far better things to do, or at least should have.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The purpose of journalists should be to give some context, not just some odd random bits of information. Right? Perhaps that role is changing, and readers are expected to just google the laws, the company structures and try to figure out what's going on individually.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Softbank were buying the old model iPhones, not selling them? Stupid story especially for the police to be wasting any time. "a serious crime?"

8 ( +10 / -2 )

What a stupid law...Its totally victimless and a win-win for Softbank and its customers. J police really need to regulate the baby killing mothers and step fathers/boyfriends, and leave the victimless crimes alone!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"the law is a ass - an idiot."

Charles Dickens

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sorry, typo:

"The law is an ass - an idiot."

Charles Dickens

2 ( +2 / -0 )

between 2000 and 20000 yen for an older phone? Anyone know what the price is based on?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AU are sneaky

0 ( +0 / -0 )

^^^^ true. nail in the head. AU=KDDI=JPN government.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@papi

it depends on which model you have. i think if you have the 4S model then it's 16,000 yen, but only 10,000 for the iphone 4.

this is another example of quirky japanese laws. shikatanai, ne!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has many 'stupid' laws that were initiated a century or two ago and never updated. Since the release of iPhone5 I have seen many of the older iPhones pop up on the classifieds. There are asking a lot more than what Softbank will give. If I was only gonna get offered 10,000yen for my iPhone4 I would give it to my kids to use as an iPod.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Guess I'll be selling mine on eBay.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guess I'll be selling mine on eBay.

Try Yahoo! Auctions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And who is up in arms about it.... just the foreigners as usual.... the docile Eloi, or regular Japanese guy on the street says nothing while the Morlocks govern and take and give as they please.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

what they should do is offer an official unlock for fully paid units! at least you can use the old phone on other carriers or send it back home so it can be used in your country. Not sell it to them for pennies. It sucks if you pay for a phone and cant use it on other carriers once its out of contract. AT&T is doing this for free. Grow up Softbank!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just like Pachinko.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wasted Police efforts. Of course they'd be all over this one, think of the huge fine softbank would have to pay them. There's no money in arresting a stalker who'll later harm someone. All about money, seatbelts,cells,speeding...anything that brings in revenue to pay for their uselessness. At least softbank is taking care of a recycling issue...hoe many people have a pile of cell phones that are collecting dust at home.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Police useless bums !!!!! Must be Docomo doing their dirty deeds again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is this what the Japanese Police do...? You've got to be kidding... More unbelievable stuff from the JOops... I guess they can't tackle any REAL crime, so they are going to act like some branch of the legislature...? First they came for our Bicycles, Then they came for Rude Passengers, now they come for your IPhone.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Have no sympathy for money grubbing Softbank. As was said above they should offer unlocks. I paid my contract and after 700 bucks I have a pristine iphone 4 that cannot be used in Australia. Get with the times Softbank! Let people at least use what they paid for!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

groinksan: "What is the purpose of this law?"

To ensure that all this phone companies shank the customers equally, with no one company dropping prices to increase sales. You see this with airlines and all sorts of companies here as well: they get together and decide on rates and increase them all together so that no one company will suffer as a result. This Softbank trade-in is an appealing deal for customers to stay with Softbank or switch to it, since the other companies don't offer quite the same thing. I have no doubt at all that one of the other companies, or both, complained and the police acted immediately. It's amazing, by the way, how quickly and efficiently they work on such silly laws when laws that will save lives are not enforced until people die.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't understand why you're jerking about cannot use your locked Iphone overseas. When you signed the contracted with Softbank you knew it was locked.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There is cheap soft to unlock them kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just have a Softbank Telecom bloke in the each store with a box ready to take them away. problem solved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To ensure that all this phone companies shank the customers equally, with no one company dropping prices to increase sales. You see this with airlines and all sorts of companies here as well: they get together and decide on rates and increase them all together so that no one company will suffer as a result. This Softbank trade-in is an appealing deal for customers to stay with Softbank or switch to it, since the other companies don't offer quite the same thing. I have no doubt at all that one of the other companies, or both, complained and the police acted immediately. It's amazing, by the way, how quickly and efficiently they work on such silly laws when laws that will save lives are not enforced until people die.

Yes, there's a legal term for this it's called: "Collusion" and it's not just phone companies nor is it limited to setting prices, it's rampant in Japan, everything from Train lines to Electronics stores, it keeps prices artificially "HIGH." I never saw the JCops act so quickly until a few Entrepreneur types started selling bento's out of the back of their mini vans at lunch time, they under-cut the local convenience store by 500 yen, they were good, and gave extra large sizes. They lasted about 3 weeks until a 100 JCops swooped in like they were doing a raid on drug dealers. If they only went after organized crime with a 10th the resources, they would be a thing of the past.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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